Activists worry landlords are taking advantage of slim vacancy rate in Bend

Property managers are accused of collecting application fees when a tenant has already been selected.

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Landlords in Bend may be raising extra cash from the tight vacancy rate.

Housing advocates are accusing property managers of collecting application fees when a tenant has already been selected.

Jack Rinn, a property manager who works on tenant advocacy issues with a group that began at First Presbyterian Church and has since spun off from the church, said the state’s housing crisis is as bad as he’s ever seen. He said Bend’s continued growth over the past eight to 10 years, even as residential construction has slowed, has put renters in a position where they’re reluctant to exercise their rights or question a landlord’s policies.

“In the past, we always had the discipline of the marketplace — act like a jerk as a landlord, and you’re going to have vacancies,” Rinn said. “All of a sudden we wake up one morning — and economists can argue about how we got to this — but we wake up one morning and it’s 100 percent one-sided. Landlords and property owners are in the driver’s seat.”

(READ MORE: Bend Bulletin)

The practice of collecting from a prospective tenant with no expectation of providing a return is known as “fee stacking.”

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